Housing charity Threshold recently dealt with a case in Cork where a man in his 60s was pinned to the floor by a brother of his landlady before being forced out on the streets after he failed to pay his rent on time.
Threshold assistant manager Conor Lynch said the man had been experiencing processing delays relating to housing supports when the incident occurred. Despite eventually settling the rent, the tenant was intimidated and put out of the accommodation.
Threshold had been working with him to defuse the situation in the weeks leading up to the incident. The charity had even contacted the landlady to explain the reasons behind his rent delays but he was still thrown out and slept in his car before finding emergency accommodation.
“The landlady’s brother arrived at the house with his son and pinned him to the ground as his stuff was cleared away,” Mr Lynch told The Echo.
“I don’t think the landlady really realised what was happening. They basically threw him out on to the street.
“As soon as it happened, he knew he wouldn’t be able to go back. In the nights that followed he slept in his car and had one friend who he stayed with.”
Mr Lynch described the tenant’s experience as sad and shocking. The tenant found emergency accommodation and later a place to live with the help of Threshold.
Threshold southern regional manager Edel Conlon said the situation brought to light the vulnerability of older men with no families.
“If the rental market hadn’t been in crisis this man could have been rehoused in two weeks,” she said.
“There is a vulnerability for anyone in the private rented sector now, but this is especially true for single men, with no families or nobody to turn to, who need that helping hand.”
The man’s case was brought to the attention of the Residential Tenancies Board and he eventually received compensation from those responsible.
“I think they believed they could do what they wanted when he hadn’t paid the rent,” said Mr Lynch.
“It was only then that they realised that they were going to have to pay money for this. The RTB hearing was two months ago and the last payment was this month.”
Mr Lynch said he spoke of how the landlady had added insult to injury after demanding that her former tenant pay for storage costs.
“When he was going back for the rest of the stuff, they tried to argue that he would have to pay for storage costs,” he said.